Herbal Summer Essentials
Ninetta M. Savino Herbalist
Lets Talk Herbal Summer Essentials!
With higher temperatures on their way plants that have a cooling effect on the body can be your best friends!
Yes, that air conditioner, pool or sprinkler will help but why not add in a delicious and effective way to hydrate and cool down your body from the inside out.
One of my favourite ways to use these cooling plants is to make a botanical sweet tea. I make large batches and then stick them in the fridge so they are always available to me and my family. I've also made medicinal ice cubes, slushies and popsicles, I even make these cooling teas for my dog Lola!
Plants that have a cooling action on the body can be described as diaphoretic, febrifuge (antipyretic), or refrigerant.
Diaphoretic plants work to cool down the body by dilating capillaries close to the skins outermost layer, increases circulation and promotes perspiration. This is also how diaphoretic plants help to eliminate waste from the body through the skin and reduce a fever.
Diaphoretic Plants Examples:
Mints (Catnip, spearmint, holy basil, peppermint, lemon balm, etc.)
Refrigerant plants work to lower the body's internal temperature to reduce excessive sweating. The mechanism of action depends on the plants primary medicine, for example, plants can cool the body through the cardiovascular, digestive, urinary and integumentary system. These plants are often used in the natural treatment of hot flushes pre/post menopause.
Refrigerant Plant Examples:
Rule of thumb is 2 tsp of plant material to 1 cup of water. I personally like my teas to have a robust flavour so I usually put in 1 tbsp to 1 cup of water. Increase these amounts as needed for the batch you are making.
These are some of my favourite plants to combine to make large batches of herbal cooling tea:
Infuse your chosen plants in a covered pot set at medium heat. Once this starts to simmer, turn the heat off and let sit for 20-25 minutes. It's fine if you let it sit longer, I make these batches in between all the other things I'm doing so sometimes they sit on the stove for a full day.
Strain, add raw honey to taste and store in a glass jar in your fridge.
And viola! Not only will these botanical teas cool you down, they can also help you hang on to hydration for longer, provide anti-viral effects, soften, tonify and nourish tissues so you can glow from the inside out.
Have fun drinking your delicious medicine!
*Please note that not all of these plants are to be used in pregnancy, while breast feeding or with other health conditions, so ensure that you consult your local Herbalist or nearest herbal resource to make sure the plant allies you choose are safe for you!
Ninetta Savino, Herbalist.
Ash + Thorn Herbals
Uses of these plants have not been regulated by the FDA. Regardless of their long term traditional uses it is important to independently research a plant you are considering using for medicinal and nutritional purposes as each individual is different. Please ensure that if you are gathering plants from the wild that you correctly identify the plant before using.